GULF STATION FINALIZES CNG DISPENSERS
Satterfield Fuel has installed all compressed natural gas (CNG) pipeline, storage vessels and compressors, but is remaining “cautiously optimistic” about the opening day of Conway’s first CNG fueling station.
Branch Satterfield said they are still waiting for Conway Corp to install and approve the transformer that will power the system.
“From there everything can be hooked up and tested, so I’m hoping within two weeks,” Satterfield said.
According to the US Department of Energy, CNG is a fossil fuel comprised mostly of methane, and is one of the cleanest burning alternative fuels.
“You have essentially the same acceleration, horse power and mileage that you would with gasoline or diesel fuel, but its actually cleaner burning, less nitrous oxide, less carbon dioxide, less greenhouse gas and it’s a good alternative choice,” Satterfield said.
In mid-July the Gulf Station on East Oak Street began the process of tearing down their carwash to make way for a CNG fueling station. The station will be located to the right of the convenience store as one pump with two dispensers placed back to back.
The pump is a standard fuel dispenser, but instead of a pipeline for liquid fuels it has a line for compressed gas.
The traditional diesel and gasoline pumps will remain as a part of the station, making this Arkansas’ first bi-fuel facility.
Crain Automotive, who converts a number of GMC, Chevrolet and Ford vehicles to CNG, has shown Satterfield how many customers would be interested in CNG conversions if a fueling station were available, and Satterfield said the demand is there.
“We’re trying to become the missing piece in the CNG equation,” he said.
Satterfield compares the cost it takes to convert a vehicle versus the long term benefits to when flat screen TVs first hit the market.
“The more people do conversions, the more the price will come down,” he said. The average cost of an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certified conversion can range from $11,000 to $30,000 depending on cylinder configuration, according to Go Natural CNG Conversion Kits.
CNG is marketed toward companies that have vehicles that travel a lot of miles during the year. Satterfield refers to Southwestern Energy as the backbone of CNG in Arkansas.
“They promoted it, and they have a lot of vehicles in their fleet,” he said. “If you’re traveling anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 miles out of the year, and you converted your vehicle you’re going to recoup that investment within about two to three years, and you’re going to extend the life of that vehicle.”
The price of CNG is about half the price of tradition fuel. North Little Rock CNG Station currently has CNG priced at $1.55 per gas gallon equivalent or gge and Southwestern Energy NGV Services in Damascus is $1.67 per gge, according to CNGPrices.com.
“When you compare that to $3.21 to $3.29 it makes a big difference,” Satterfield said.
The community can expect a “soft opening” in about two or three weeks, Satterfield said, because lots of testing will have to be done before the public can use the dispensers.
Satterfield plans to invite the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s CNG vehicle as well as Cafton Tull’s, who did the engineering on the site, to be the first Conway residents to try the CNG pumps.
Satterfield said he anticipates more companies as well as individuals converting to CNG now that a station is available.
“When it’s time for them to get a new vehicle, they can seriously consider a CNG vehicle because the infrastructure is here,” he said. “They don’t have to go outside of Conway to get it. Plus when we get our sign up that says $1.50 whatever, that’s just about the best advertising you can get.”
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)